Photos

Photos: Nigerians Go All Out To Stand Up For LGBT Rights


Recently a bill was passed by the Nigerian Senate that would make it a punishable offense — of up to 14-years in prison — for anybody to go to a gay bar, to work for or be involved with LGBT organization, or to be in an openly gay relationship. In addition, anyone who  “witnesses,” “aids,” or “abets” same-sex marriage — defined as including ALL same-sex relationships — could be punished up to ten years in prison. The bill also carries similar sentences for the establishment of gay clubs, and for any activity seen as supporting gay rights.

On Monday Dec. 5th, activists rallied outside of the Nigerian Mission to the United Nations (pics below) to deliver a clear message to Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan: "We are not illegal." Nigerian activist Ifeanyi Orazulike wrote a letter to Jonathan and circulated it via AllOut.org urging him to veto the bill. The petition garnered over 58,000 signatures from around the world in just three days and activists hand-delivered the letter to consular officials on Monday.

On Tuesday, President Obama and the U.S. State Department announced that it will limit aid to countries that don't embrace gay rights (despite a bevy of unjust legislation in parts of the United States including limits on gay marriage and equal opportunity housing....erm...). This announcement comes on the heels of UK Prime Minister David Cameron making a similar statement - albeit in a pretty f'ing patronizing way. Critics of Cameron's initiative note that Cameron didn't consult with activists on the ground and that his statements/actions would actually endanger the lives of Africans. We don't disagree, but we also see how divestment has curbed human rights abuses in the past — economic sanctions against Apartheid in the 1980's/90's is a prime example.

To help support gay rights activists on the ground, and specifically in Nigeria, go to  All Out's website where you can tweet, Facebook and email about the Nigerian anti-gay law. And sign the petition.The goal is to keep the pressure on the President Goodluck Jonathan and get him to veto the bill.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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